Creating a Powerful Facebook Sales Funnel

Why You Should Build a Commmunity

No matter what you’re selling on Facebook, the most effective marketing strategy is to create an engaged community of fans that you regularly communicate and interact with through page post engagement ads and apps such as Facebook Messenger.

And this is the biggest difference between Facebook and other PPC platforms like AdWords and Bing Ads. The thing is, you need to build an emotional connection with your target audience on Facebook. If the people you are marketing to are not engaged with your brand, they will simply not buy from you. Yes, you might get a few sales here and there, but when that happens, luck or price usually has a lot to do with it. That’s really not good enough because you’ll find that your customer lifetime value is very low.

Giants like Apple and Nike have spent millions building their brand, and most people already have an emotional connection with them. Consequently, no matter what type of ads they share on Facebook, they’ll get the engagement they’re looking for.

Social media has made it so that you don’t need to spend the millions that these companies have had to spend, but you do need to know how to leverage sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to develop that crucial emotional connection with your target audience so that they are engaged with your brand.

And it is simply not enough to post great content. You need to build a 2-way relationship with your audience instead of simply broadcasting at them. This means the people you are talking to have to be responding to what you’re saying with likes, shares and comments, or the relationship will be one-sided. And we all know how well one-sided relationships work in real life.

Building a community will obviously require a lot of hard work, but the rewards will be well worth it because you will stand out from those competitors that are simply burning money on expensive ads, and your laser-targeted audience will be highly engaged with your brand. This will not only slash your advertising budget, but Facebook will recognize the relationship you have with your audience, and things will be a lot easier for you. Furthermore, the search engines will also notice the social signals gravitating towards your brand, and they won’t be able to ignore it.

You should seize the opportunity to deliver tons of value, build trust, rapport, and desire for your product or service, and then transition into how your product can fulfil their desires or solve their problems. This is why it is important to be an expert or at least be highly knowledgeable in what you’re selling so that your audience can rely on your knowledge and expertise as you build up interest in your product or service.

With this level of engagement where they are already liking, sharing and commenting on your posts, you woud have built up so much trust and credibility, and you’ll have a better chance of converting them into lifetime customers.

Who is your ideal target customer?

One major mistake that most advertisers make on Facebook is not fully researching their ideal target customer. Understanding your target audience and creating a buyer persona is critical to the success of any Facebook advertising campaign. This is the person who, on paper, is most likely to buy from you, most likely to find your posts interesting and most likely to become highly engaged with your brand. To be effective, you need to understand the motivating beliefs, fears and desires that influence the buying decisions of your personas.

group of users

With recent data from Statista showing that Facebook has 1.86 billion monthly users, you need to be laser-focused in terms of who you put your ads in front of. It’s not just about how many people you can reach, but also how precisely targeted those people are.

Audience Targeting

Targeting the right audience is absolutely critical to the success of Facebook ads. You need to ensure that you embrace an audience of people that are going to be receptive to your ads. No matter how great your ad, if its not reaching the right audience, your campaign will fail.

The good news is that Facebook provides advertisers with a range of powerful tools that provide access to a wealth of data about its users. They spend millions on detailed dossiers from 3rd party data brokers about their users’ offline lives. These brokers collect information from public records, online activity and purchase history and re-sell it to other companies for marketing purposes.

With this information, you can even target people who:

  • Got engaged recently
  • Are fans of a specific football team
  • Donate to charity frequently
  • Are in the market for a certain kind of vehicle
  • Buy the types of products or services you sell
  • etc.

and this is what sets Facebook apart. All of this data provides powerful insights that allows you to put the right message in front of the right audience. if you know who your perfect customer is, then you can make sure that you invest all your time, effort and budget into reaching those people, and the result will be far more profitable and far more rewarding.

For example, lets say you’re a golf coach looking to sell your high ticket coaching program designed to help keen golfers improve their swing. The Facebook interest targeting tool can help you find people from all over the world who have indicated that they like to play golf, are fans of a number of top golfing stars, have shared status updates and articles about golf and have liked a number of golf-themed pages.

However, this does not make them potential buyers. In fact, even if they play golf, it doesn’t mean they care enough about the game to invest in a highend coaching program or that they have the means to do so. Yet, this is where most advertisers end their research.

Showing your ad to a cross section of these users may very well lead to a campaign that might generate lots of likes and shares and ultimately low clicks, but very few buyers. And there’s nothing more frustrating than an ad that generates a ton of engagement but very few conversions. What you should be looking for are targeted, potential buyers, not just people who are fans of the sport or have liked golf pages.

With the right research, you’ll be able to find out crucial information such as their deepest desires, demographics: location, age range, gender, interests, motivations, income level, lifestyle, behaviour, buying habits, page likes, etc. All of this information will help you build up a picture of your ideal target customer, and you’ll know precisely who you’re going to be speaking to.

Once you know enough about your target audience, you’ll know how best to craft an ad that will attract and appeal to that specific audience. This is the kind of data you need to attract customers that are right for your business and develop advertising campaigns that bring you serious returns on your initial investment.

Interest Targeting

Interest targeting is pretty big on Facebook because it allows you to target people by their interests. But you need to be very careful here because it is not very clear how Facebook determines an interest. Just because someone has shown an interest in something doesn’t mean they actually like it enough to pay for it.

For example, some fans of Venus and Serena Williams may have liked, shared and commented on several tennis related articles and magazines that featured the sisters. Those users might also be fans of their Facebook pages. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that those fans like or are interested in the sport. Yet, the Facebook algorithm will deem them as interested in tennis because they have like pages of the sport’s superstars, and have engaged with a lot of articles on the sport. This is why you cannot rely solely on interest targeting.

Hot and Cold Audiences

Another mistake that many advertisers make on Facebook when selling high-ticket items is advertising to warm and cold audiences in exactly the same way. A cold audience consists of users that have never heard about your business, product or service, and your ad is their first introduction to your company. On the other hand, a warm audience consists of users that have had some exposure to your brand. They include fans of your Facebook page, users that have visited your website, watched your video, etc.

If you’re selling a t-shirt, laptop or other low-cost item, you can perhaps get away with sending cold traffic directly to your website, although it would be much better to aim to build relationships with your target audience. On the other hand however, selling digital products or high-ticket items is a different ballgame and requires a completely different strategy.

You cannot just go for the jugular by sending this type of traffic directly to your website. You’re asking too much of your target audience who don’t know anythng about you. You need to first of all establish trust and credibility by aligning yourself as an expert in your niche with relevant, engaging content that is useful to them. More importantly, you need to demonstate that your product or service can solve a specific problem for your viewers. To do this, you need to build a sales funnel.

The Facebook Algorithm

Understanding how the Facebook algorithm works is crucial for running successful Facebook ad campaigns. Along with the advanced targeting capabilites of Facebook, the intelligence of the algorithm is what makes Facebook marketing so powerful for advertisers, and you need to know how it works and how to work with it.

For example, it is important to realize that the algorithm is driven by relevance and efficiency, and prioritizes content that is relevant to and personalized for a particular user. So if the algorithm feels that a user will not be interested in an ad, it will not display your ad to the user.

Consequently, if you have selected conversions as a campaign objective, the algorithm will not display your ad to users who do not have a history of converting on the types of products you’re selling. But once it identifies a converter, it will begin to look for similar characteristics in other users. This has the effect of maximizing advertising budgets.

It is important to realize that the algorithm needs time to identify converting characteistics, and Facebook suggests that it generally requires at least 25 conversions per ad set per week to identify users with those characteristics.

Creating Your Sales Funnel

Selling digital products or high-ticket items on Facebook requires an enormous amount of trust, and a sales funnel allows you to effectively establish this trust by focusing on their deep desire or biggest frustration. In addition to a professional website, you need the following tools to create an effective and result-oriented Facebook sales funnel.

An Irresistible Freebie

A freebie or giveway is a fundamental component of selling digital products or high-tickets on Facebook. This freebie can be a comprehensive PDF report, an educational video, a short eBook, a slideshow presentation, etc. At this point, what you need is something that breaks the ice with your prospect and allows you to capture their contact details.

Whatever format you choose, the content you choose to use for your sales funnel must be relevant and useul to your target audience. It needs to really grab the attention of your target audience and motivate them to engage with you.

You also need different types of content to cater to different types of buyers, some of whom may be at different stages of the buying funnel. You need to ask yourself what someone in your industry who isn’t ready to buy would find interesting. All you should be trying to do at this stage is get their contact informtion by differentiating your ad from the thousands of ads that the prospect has already been exposed to so that you will be memorable.

Examples of freebies include:

  • EBook
  • Video tutorial or webinar
  • Whitepaper
  • How-to guide
  • Audio file
  • Infographic
  • Discount or coupon
  • Web-based or downloadable tool
  • Checklist or template

To create the most effective giveaway, you need to have a deep understanding of the most common challenges, frustrations and pain points of your target audience. If you want to be remembered, your freebie should address a very specific niche of users, solve a real problem and be easily actionable.

For example, say you want to get qualified leads for your restaurant. Some people may choose to use recipes as their freebie. However, the problem is that there are thousands of recipes freely available on the internet, and asking people to subscribe to your newsletter in return for a few recipes may not be very effective.

What you could do instead is target a specific niche of users such as pregnant mothers who have identified themselves as vegan, are passionate about cooking and are fans of a famous vegan chef like Jamie Oliver. Your freebie could be advertised as “15 delicious vegan recipes for expectant mothers inspired by Jamie Oliver”.

An Optimized Facebook Page

You need a compelling and super-optimized Facebook page that will enable you to engage and learn more about your target audience. Your page also provides the opportunity to humanize your brand and put your business top of mind with your target audience.

A Facebook Landing Page

An attractive and compelling Facebook landing page is a key part of a successful sales funnel because this is what will convert your traffic into leads. The goal of the page should be specifically to deliver your freebie and collect users’ data.

Facebook allows you to create your very own landing page (or landing tab) on your brand’s Facebook page so that your target audience can provide their details without having to leave Facebook. People will be more likely to part with their personal details when the landing page is located within a Facebook page as compared to when it is on your website.

As an alternative to the Facebook landing page, you could use Facebook Messenger ads (discussed below) to engage cold traffic. Messenger ads allow users to send a message to advertisers clicking a Send Message button on the ad. Instead of being taken to a landing page or website, users engage in a one-on-one conversation with the advertiser that they can facilitate with a specially created Messenger chatbot. This means that rather than building an email list that you can use to communicate with your prospects off Facebook, you’ll be building a messenger list that you can use to communicate with your audience on Facebook.

Facebook Messenger Ads

Instead of asking for the sale right away, Messenger ads allow you to engage the prospect by inviting them to message you for a chat where you can answer questions, reassure users and overcome objections or barriers to purchase. And you can automate the entire process using chatbots.

The reason why Messenger ads are so powerful is that they enable real-time, collaborative conversations and allow you to position your product or service to the buyer’s specific problem. In addition, Facebook currently allows you to send broadcasts to your entire subscribers free of charge.

With over a billion people using Facebook Messenger and open rates of 80% open rates compared to 20-30% with email marketing, Messenger is much more effective at building relationships and generating sales through conversation selling.

Check out the stats here.

If you need any more convincing about the effectiveness of being responsive to potential customers, Harvard Business Review conducted a study to see how a company’s response time to leads would impact their qualification rate. The study found that responding to a potential lead within five minutes of a customer reaching out to you will increase your odds of closing the deal by 400%. Furthermore, 73% of customers prefer talking to companies via live chat rather than email. And 56% of people would rather message you than call you for customer service.

And the results are speaking for themselves. It’s still early days, but Globe Telecom has already reduced calls to their hotline by 50% with the implementation of Messenger Ads.

The Facebook Pixel

The Facebook Pixel is a piece of code that enables your website to talk to Facebook ads manager. If you will be driving traffic to your site, setting up the Facebook pixel is critically important, and you need to do this before setting up your advertising campaign.

The Facebook pixel tracks visits to your website, engagement and conversions so that you can see how many people are converting into a lead, putting products into carts, viewing specific pages or actually buying stuff from your website.

It also helps you analyse the effectiveness of your advertising by understanding how people are interacting and engaging with your website so that you can effectively optimize your campaign and build targeted audiences. This data will also help the Facebook algorithm optimize your campaign for whatever conversion goal you choose.

For example, the pixel will feed through to the algorithm, the types of people that are converting based on their demorgraphics and interests. Once this is clear, the algorithm will understand who is most likely to click on your ads and will begin to show your ad to a similar group of people because those are the people that are most likely to convert on your specified goals.

Everyone with a website needs to use the Facebook pixel, whether you’re running Facebook ads or not. Its always a good idea to get the Facebook pixel installed on your website so that you can start gathering and collecting data so if you ever decide you want to launch a Facebook ads campaign, you’ll have a lot of useful data already.

It is the first thing you should do when you setup a campaign. It is added to the header of every single page of your website or throughout your landing pages or throughout your funnel. With the Facebook Pixel on your site, you can show specific ads to certain users, based on what they have done on your site.

It will also help you build custom audiences of people that look at specific pages or products so that you can retarget them based on the actions that they took. For example, if certain users looked at product x but didn’t buy, you can show them ads with coupons for product x to encourage them to convert on that product.

Conversions from your Facebook ad

Facebook can start tracking your campaigns and measure real world outcomes from your Facebook ad campaigns. For example, if you’ve setup a campaign to drive traffic to your website because you want people to sign up to an email list by downloading a PDF report, the pixel allows Facebook to find out how many people downloaded the report from the traffic you received from your Facebook ad.

Optimization

This will enable Facebook to deliver your ads to more of the right people to get the conversions you want. Without the pixel, Facebook would be unable to optimize your ad for conversions. They can optimize your ads to get clicks to your website, but if they have no way of understanding which of those people are actually converting, then they cannot optimize for that.

With the Facebook pixel, you can set the outcome to be to optimize for conversions, and they’re going to focus on getting more people to download your PDF rather than simply getting people to visit your website. This is a massive benefit because it’s driving a more tangible business result.

Saved Audiences

Saved audiences are your core audience. They are a cold audience who have never had any exposure to your brand. They are an audience you build from scratch, and are based on demographics, behaviours, interests, etc. If you don’t have an email list of people to remarket to, this is where you’ll start from, and then build custom audiences later. At this point, your campaign objective would be traffic so that you can use the saved audiences to see what action each user would take on your site and then build a custom audience from them.

Retargeting

Installing the pixel on your site allows you to build audiences from people who converted, or from similar audiences to reach new people. For example, say you sent people to your website and they ended up converting, you can build an audience of those people who converted on your site goals and remarket to them or upsell to them with a product, and, using that audience who downloaded the report, you can build a lookalike audience using that source audience.

Custom Audiences

Custom audiences allow you to target people with whom you already have some sort of relationship or connection. It is much easier to get a conversion out of people that are familiar with your business, rather than targeting people that are cold and don’t know anything about you or what your business is about.

It is important to start building a custom audience from day one so that you can start getting results a lot quicker. Using the Facebook Pixel, you will be remarketing to people who have already engaged with you in some way. For instance, people who have visited your site, subscribed to your newsletter, engaged with your Facebook page, downloaded your app and engaged with it or viewed a video that you have put out on Facebook.

To illustrate the power of custom audiences, say you have an ecommerce site on which you sell the latest range of Beyonce tank top dresses. By embedding the Facebook pixel on pages of your online catalogue, you can target the collection on Facebook to Beyonce female fans in a particular country with interests in fashion and shopping who have visited your site.

You can then remarket to those fans who have viewed and put the products in their shopping cart without checking out with a time-sensitive coupon that will encourage those users to complete their purchase right away. You can also create custom audiences of people who visited specific pages of your site so that you can target them differently.

Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike audiences allow you to scale your marketing efforts extremely efficiently. A lookalike audience allows you to reach people who have a similar profile to your current customers. Basically, you want people who look like your ideal customers, who are the same age as your ideal customers, and live in the same location as your ideal customers. It is a way to extend the reach of our campaign to reach a very large audience of targeted users. This will give your campaign the highest likelihood of working from the get-go.

What Facebook actually does is to use a source audience such as a custom audience of website visitors to find similar people on Facebook. This makes it possible to turn a source audience of 10,000 prospective buyers into a highly targeted audience of over 100,000 users. Although it is possible to generate a lookalike audience of millions of users, you’ll generally want to keep your audience between 50,000 to 100,000 to keep your audience as tightly focused as possible.

Common Mistakes to Avoid With Social Media Marketing

When used the right way, social media marketing can be a powerful lead generation machine. However, to be effective at generating leads for your business, you should approach social media marketing to engage with your target audience and provide solutions to problems rather than as a selling or promotional tool.

Here are some common mistakes that could damage the results you are able to generate from social media, ultimately leading to a failed campaign.

social networks

Here are common mistakes to avoid when using social media for marketing your business:

Not having a strategy or plan.

Creating a comprehensive social media strategy is as important as having a business plan. A specific social media plan that you can incorporate into your overall business strategy is absolutely essential in order for your social media efforts to have any hope of success. Your social media marketing strategy should outline a clear vision of exactly what you want to achieve, identify the most effective social networking platforms for your business, and define the tactics you plan to use in the process.

Without a clear vision, well-mapped plan and strategic approach, your marketing efforts will be random and chaotic, and largely ineffectual. The campaign will be unfocused and the results you do get will be weak and disjointed. Ensuring that your marketing efforts are guided by a clearly defined strategy will bring direction, focus and discipline to your social media marketing campaign.

Taking shortcuts.

Social media requires a significant time commitment, and for that reason, some people choose to take shortcuts. One of the shortcuts they take is by scheduling updates to be posted automatically so they don’t have to be present on the platform. Others link their Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter updates together. This may seem harmless enough, and has been recommended by a number of experts as it helps to maintain your visibility on the platforms. It is also a time saver. The fact is, it is a really bad idea.

People that use these different social media platforms all have different personalities and mindsets, and it is impossible to craft messages that are suitable for all three platforms at once. You are not being genuine and in time, people will get wise to what you’re doing. You will certainly not attract more people to your brand. Furthermore, it could have serious implications for your brand. Linking platforms is something to stay away from doing.

Focusing on quantity, not quality.

Plenty of business owners wrongly believe that having large numbers of fans on their Facebook page is the hallmark of a successful marketing campaign. This simply isn’t true. Social media is about one thing and one thing only: engagement. It is more important to focus on the level of engagement.

Having 50 engaged Facebook fans who comment and like your status updates is better than having 1,000,000 passive fans who never interact with your page, and are not interested in you or your business. Engaged users are more likely to support your company or buy your products.

Not engaging with your target audience.

Social media is about being “social”, and you need to interact and actively engage with your target audience. Its all about community building. You need to show your personality and your humanness. Ask questions and respond to comments. Post interesting pictures. Share useful content that your users will enjoy, such as industry news or relevant tips, and not just self-promotional information about your business, products or services. Comment on other pages and share other people’s content.

Engaging with other people makes them more likely to engage with you and comment on your pages. Leverage social media to create meaningful relationships with current customers and prospects, forge bonds with industry peers, and strengthen relationships through online engagement. Its about finding ways to provide value to those you interact with.

If there is a conversation going on about your industry between potential customers and you’re not listening, you are leaving money on the table for those competitors that are listening and engaging with your target audience. If your conversation is completely one-sided, you will turn people off, and they will eventually begin to ignore you. That will spell disaster for your brand’s image.

Spamming your target audience.

One major mistake that you can make with social media is to treat every post as an opportunity to promote your business. Social media is not the place to apply traditional marketing techniques, engage in heavy sales tactics, or send spam-like communications. Doing that will only serve to damage your brand and alienate the very people you’re trying to reach.

Although there’s nothing wrong with sharing your experiences and the value of your business, products and services, social media marketing tools are vastly different from other marketing tools and requires a completely different approach, mindset and strategy. If you over-do it, self-promote to people who know nothing about you or your brand, or adopt the habits of salesmen of old (even slightly), you’re going to be ignored and overlooked.

Not tracking statistics.

It is extremely important to analyze the statistics from your various social media sites so that you can access and refine your approach as required. Bad reviews of a business spreads much faster than good reviews, so it makes good business sense for businesses to always keep their eyes on what customers and prospective customers are saying about a business on their Twitter feeds, blogs and on their Facebook pages.

In addition, by tracking and monitoring your progress on the various social media platforms, you can gain valuable insights such as what time of day your customers are most active, what types of posts bring the highest levels of engagement, etc. Zeroing in on these key stats and using them to shape your overall social media strategy will make your efforts will make your efforts that much more successful.

Spreading yourself too thin.

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make in social media is to try and be everywhere – it simply just won’t work. Stretching yourself across a wide range of social media platforms will mean you are spending too much time with fewer quality results. To be successful in social media marketing, you must first understand what each platforms purpose is, and how this will relate to your business.

Developing a meaningful presence on all of these sites will only help your business if you have the time to develop meaningful, site-specific content for each.

Expecting immediate payback.

Social media won’t lead to overnight success. Social media is about building an affinity with your audience so when the time comes, they’ll make the purchase you were seeking. It is unlike SEO or search marketing where the goal is to reach people searching for what you have to offer and make an instant purchase.

For example, let’s say you sell French lessons for English speakers through your website, and have created a Facebook Page that is all about learning French. Imagine that you have a number of fans who are somewhat interested in learning French and they engage and interact with your Page quite frequently because you post a lot of great content including free introductory tutorials and how-tos, interactive images that help learning the language quicker and easier, articles, etc.

You also demonstrate your expertise by sharing videos of yourself conversing in French with one of your students, and those fans who are somewhat interested in the language are able to really make good progress in their learning, just from engaging with your page on a regular basis.

One day, a fan of your Page, Plato, decides he’s ready to take the plunge and purchase a French course. Over time he has been receiving promotional emails from different training schools who have not built a relationship with John, like you have. In all likelihood, John will purchase from you because of the relationship you have developed and nurtured over time.

That is how social media works. Building an engaged community with social media will take time and dedication. After getting people to follow you, you’ll need to take the time to nurture the relationships. Success will come in increased awareness of your brand, referrals, traffic and eventually, sales.

Many of the people in your audience may not be ready to purchase right now, so don’t expect immediate results. Focus on providing quality, and the results may be slow coming, but they are sure to follow in time. What is more, they will be highly qualified and already familiar with and engaged with your brand.

How to Generate High Quality Leads With Pinterest

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest has evolved from a trending social media network and continues to grow as a go-to visual search engine for ideas, tips and inspiration. It is also a high powered marketing machine. Whilst it may not be quite as popular as Facebook in terms of the sheer number of members, Pinterest has a ton of powerful and unique features that present excellent opportunities for driving thousands of targeted traffic and generating qualified leads for all types of businesses.

Pinterest is used by millions of people who are looking for things to buy, plan and do. The typical user uses it to search for inspiration or solutions to problems. Essentially, Pinterest allows users to pin images of interesting content they find on the web. Each time a visitor pins a particular piece of content from a website, their followers can see it and repin it as well to their boards and their followers can do the same, leading to a kind of viral effect that over time, can have a tremendous effect on any business.

And therein lies the real power of Pinterest, because it means that you can capture the attention and engage people in your target audience with the right image, providing an incredible opportunity to get your business and products in front of your target market in a visually powerful and authentic way.

Still not sure of you should be marketing on Pinterest? Consider this: 75 percent of saved Pins come from businesses, and 2 million people pin product Pins every day.

Furthermore, nearly 40 percent of Pinners make more than $100,000 per year, and the average order value of a sale coming from Pinterest is $50, the highest of all major social platforms.

If you create images that solve specific problems for your target audience visually, this can be a powerful and effective way to drive qualified leads in the form of highly targeted traffic to your website. Each pin provides several ways to drive traffic to a website.

Some interesting statistics about Pinterest:

  • As at September 2017, Pinterest currently has 200 million monthly active users.
  • 71% of those 200 million users are female
  • 88% of users purchase a product they have pinned;
  • 49% have purchased 5 or more products they pinned;
  • Each piece of content that a Pinterest user pins is worth, on average, 78 cents to the brand whose merchandise is featured.
  • On Cyber Monday, Pinterest more than tripled the revenue sent to online retailers.

A Powerful Lead Generation Machine

Whilst Pinterest is categorized as a social media network, people do not share images on Pinterest in the same way that they do on Facebook. And this is what makes the platform such a goldmine for all kinds of businesses.

group of people

Three of the main reasons why people visit Pinterest are:

  1. Inspiration
  2. Education
  3. Planning

For example, on Facebook, people might share pictures of their big events such as weddings, birthday parties, places they’ve visited, etc. However, Pinterest is where many of these people go to search for ideas and inspiration when they are planning their big event. It is a search engine. Such users are usually at advanced stages of the buying funnel and if you’re a wedding planner or travel agent, you’ll want to engage these individuals with your content at the precise time that they are actively searching for the products and services that you sell.

And this also presents an excellent opportunity to various kinds of businesses that wouldn’t ordinarily think that their target audience would be on Pinterest. For example if you’re a financial advisor, you can create a visually engaging Pin (known colloquially as a tipographic) of the top 10 financial tips for planning the wedding of your dreams.

Similarly, an insurance company can engage users planning a trip with an attractive visual presentation of the advantages of buying travel insurance. It’s all about attracting attention with the right image. This is why Pinterest is widely recognized as the most powerful lead generation tool for specific types of businesses.

Do More With Less

One thing that is so special about Pinterest is that, unlike other social networks, you don’t need a lot of followers to get massive traffic and massive reach. Even though it is classed as a social network, people aren’t going to Pinterest to connect with other people, but to search for quality content and get ideas and inspiration for their projects. Of course, you need followers because of all of the benefits that a large social network can bring. However, the fact remains that you can still engage a large audience even if you only have very few followers.

On sites like Twitter and Facebook, you need to have more followers to be able to reach more people with your posts. This is not the case with Pinterest. Even without having a large following, you can leverage the content you post to potentially reach millions of users that can be targeted by interest, demographics, and keywords that they’re searching.

Pinterest Lead Generation Tools

Pinterest offers a variety of powerful tools that you can leverage to successfully generated qualified leads for your business.

Visual Search Engine

Pinterest is a powerful visual search engine. This means that by understanding how your target audience searches for the products and services that you sell, you can effectively optimize your business, products or services to be found by potential buyers who are actively searching for what you sell.

Rich Pins

Pinterest rich pins are enhanced pins that add more information than usual pins to make them more helpful and more powerful for businesses. This extra information is automatically pulled from your website and included on the pin itself.

Rich pins provide free email notifications and highlight additional information which can be displayed in the Pinterest Pin Feed underneath the pinned image. Consequently, they drive significantly more traffic than regular pins, and this will often result in a significant increase in sales. Image as well as text-based content in a pin can increase relevancy which in turn can lead to more informed decisions.

Pins are never deleted

Yet another incredible feature that is unique to Pinterest is the fact that once you upload an image that proves popular with your target audience, you can keep getting leads in the form of targeted traffic to your website from that pin for years after you posted it.

This is because the pins last forever on Pinterest and can only be deleted by the user that published it. This is another powerful edge that Pinterest has over other social networks including Facebook and Twitter, and why Pinterest needs to be at the heart of your online marketing strategy.

SEO Benefits of Pinterest

In addition to powerful social signals that are factored into the search engines’ algorithms, Pinterest has tremendous benefits for organic SEO. Google and Bing crawl and index Pinterest pins because they are publicly available, and when they appear in Google searches, they typically appear at the top of the first page.

This means your search-optimized images can show up for relevant searches, increasing your visibility. But what is so powerful about Pinterest is that if you have an image that is repinned 200 times, this means that you have 200 boards with links to your website. The more popular images you have, the more links you’re getting to your site. A strong presence on Pinterest will have a truly delightful impact on your organic search ranking.

Pinterest Advertising

You can setup an advertising campaign on Pinterest to promote specific pins, increase brand awareness, drive targeted traffic and convert leads into customers. One way to approach an advertising campaign on the platform is to promote a pin that has already seen some success on Pinterest with repins or comments.

Since this pin has already proven to be somewhat successful with a certain section of the Pinterest community, chances are that when it’s shown to a larger pool of targeted users, it will be well received by them as well and will drive more traffic to your blog.

So, if you setup a succesful advertising campaign to promote a specific pin that has gained traction on Pinterest, the pins that you promote during and after the campaign are never deleted, and will continue to work for you for years after the campaign has ended.

With a promoted pin campaign, you can pay to have your pins show up in specific feeds or search results, and with this you’re able to target audiences that have visited your website, are on your email newsletter list or discover a whole new audience on Pinterest.

For example, using Promoted Pins, Adore Me, a monthly subscription service for stylish lingerie, saw:

  • A 3700% increase in purchases coming from Pinterest
  • A 6000% increase in email signups coming from Pinterest
  • A 2600% increase in traffic coming from Pinterest
  • A 50% higher click-to-purchase rate on Promoted Pins compared to other channels, especially on mobile

If you setup an ad campaign and audience targeting to target specific users, your promoted pins will show up in their home feed as well as in any searches they make that are related to your targeted keywords.

You can target people based on:

  • Visitors that went to your site;
  • Subscribers to your newsletter;
  • An engagement audience that have engaged with your Pins
  • An actalike audience that is based on your already created audiences. This is similar to the lookalike audience in Facebook ads.

Keys to Success With Pinterest

Success with Pinterest is simply about using it as a platform to increase brand recognition, build trust and credibility, and to engage your audience by providing high quality value. The mistake that a lot of companies make on social media as a whole is simply to try and use it as a platform reach a broader audience that they can sell to. This is the type of approach often leads to failure, especially if you’re a small business that no one has heard of.

It is important to always keep in mind that Pinterest is first and foremost, a social network. Like other networks, you need a marketing strategy to successfully leverage the website for lead generation. If you don’t have a proper plan or strategy, you’ll end up without any tangible or meaningful results.

The basic fact is that you want people to follow you on social media. If you want to build an audience and engender loyalty from your audience, then you need to give users a reason to follow and trust you. If all you want to do is to promote your products and services, then you’re not being social, and there is no reason for users to follow you or trust you.

What is really awesome about Pinterest is that if your board is providing great value then it will grow naturally. People will repin your pins, they will comment and they will discover what you’re posting through the search button. If you’re offering new content, if you’re staying on topic and if you’re providing real value by offering a genuine service of some kind, then people will gradually gravitate towards your brand and you’ll achieve the goals you’ve set out to achieve on the platform.

Importance of Co-Citations For SEO

What Is A Co-Citation?

Co-citations are effectively “mentions” across the web. A mention occurs when an article or blog post about a topic in your industry refers to your site in relation to a particular product or service, but doesn’t actually establish a link to your site. This is a citation. A citation is valued by Google because it’s organic and authoritative. Someone chose to cite you as a source of their own volition.

For example, if you provide computer repair services and your site is reviewed in an article as a “leading computer repair firm in London” without actually linking to it, that is a co-citation or mention.

If you get a number of articles on well-established websites and social networks also refer to your site in the same terms, this will serve as a strong ranking signal to Google.

Note that mentions of computer repair services in direct relation to your website can trigger the ranking of your site for relevant search queries for related services like computer networking even when your website has not been optimized for the keywords: computer networking.

Citations are valued by Google because, unlike backlinks that you can purchase, it is much more difficult to manipulate the system with citations. To expand on the concept of a co-citation, consider the following definition from Sourceforget.net.

The Website defines a co-citation as:

“A popular similarity measure used to establish a subject similarity between two items. If A and B are both cited by C, they may be said to be related to one another, even though they don’t directly reference each other. If A and B are both cited by many other items, they have a stronger relationship. The more items they are cited by, the stronger their relationship is.”

Let’s say you’re in the IT industry and a particular website (site A) references a blog post or article on your site (site C). In the same article, site A also references Microsoft.com – an authority site (site B) that is closely related to your industry. In this scenario, some of the respect and authority from Microsoft (the authority site) will flow down to site C (your site).

To make this a lot clearer, consider the following example: say you run an online computer store that sells Windows and Apple computers including desktops, laptops and tablets. On your site, you have an educational blog in which you teach people how to perform a variety of computer tasks that the average consumer will find a bit challenging to do on their own. One of your most popular articles is a step-by-step blog post on how to setup a local computer network to share files and printers between Windows, Linux, and Apple computers.

Now, let’s assume that there is an excellent whitepaper on the Microsoft.com Website that teaches how to create a network between Windows 7, XP, and Vista desktops, laptops, tablets, feature phones, Android smartphones and wireless printers. However, unlike your blog post, the article doesn’t describe how to create a network between all of those devices and iMacs and iPhones. So, your blog post fills a gap in the article, and the Microsoft whitepaper also fills a gap in your article, because it discusses how to setup a network that includes feature smartphones and printers, which you do not actually discuss in your post.

On a 3rd party website, an article discusses the subject of networking smartphones, printers, Windows and Apple computers. The author references the networking article on the Microsoft website. However, the article also mentions that the Microsoft whitepaper does not explain how to create a network between Windows and Apple computers and peripherals. The article also references your blog post and explains how your blog post fills in the information that is missing in the Microsoft article. This is a co-citation.

As far as Google is concerned, your website is being talked about on the web, and it is being talke about in the same context as a leading authority (Microsoft). That is huge. It is much better than an anchor text backlink because it is editorial, and this makes it so much more powerful.

Your website will share some of Microsoft’s respect from Google because of the context in which your site and blog post was referenced, not because of any specific keywords embedded into the link. In this case, the link to your site should be a branded link (such as http:www.example.com/networking-computers.html). It should not be anchor text. Enough co-citations like this, and your site will receive a massive boost on the SERPs from co-citations alone.

How to Earn a Co-Citation

The reason why Google ascribes so much value to co-citations is because it’s much more difficult to manipulate co-citations than anchor text backlinks. Earning mentions–on a monthly basis in top publications in your market will keep your brand relevant. You will need to create something meaningful that will inspire people talk about your site. In short, co-citations must be truly earned. You can do this by creating content that is meaningful, valuable and hard to find. When you create this type of content, other people will read it, share it, and write about it themselves.

Verification Of Authenticity

It is important to note that when it comes to co-citations or mentions, Google has a way of identifying fake ones. Google uses variety of mentions as a means of verifying the authenticity of a particular co-citation. For example, if suddenly your website’s name starts to get mentioned across the web with the exact same sentence describing what you do and the service you provide or the products that you sell, that will not sound natural. In all likelihood, Google will view that as an attempt to manipulate the search process, and strong penalties will follow.

Something similar happened with the British website Interflora over Valentine’s Day. Interflora sponsored hundreds of paid advertisements that appeared in regional newspaper sites in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, each of these had a similar phrasing and heading, all of which were pointing to the Interflora website. Google not only delisted Interflora from its index, but it also penalized each of the regional newspaper websites that participated in the infraction by dropping their PageRank (PR) to zero. You can read more about the case here:

Getting Mentions with HARO

HARO (Help a Reporter Out) can be a great resource for scoring free publicity, links and mentions on major media sites. It is a free online resource that connects journalists that need sources with business owners that are looking to get featured on major media publications including ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN, New York Times, Business Week, Reuters and the Hearst Corporation. HARO is also one of the most effective ways on the web for getting small business stories in front of big media.

Home page of HARO

HARO can be a great resource for generating free publicity for your brand

To get started, start by registering at www.helpareporter.com for a free account. Under ‘Sources’, sign up and indicate your fields of expertise. You can sign up for a standard, basic, advanced or premium package. Whatever the package you choose, you’ll receive emails three times a day from journalists that need sources in your chosen categories. These emails will arrive at exactly the same time.

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